5 tips for choosing the right chair for your home

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The perfect nook for napping, chatting, tucking up your tootsies with a cuppa or ‘resting’ your clothing, the occasional chair is the ultimate in versatile furniture pieces. It’s comfy in multiple rooms in your home from your boudoir to the office, entryway and lounge.

By definition, an occasional chair is a (somewhat) transportable chair that’s used less frequently. Substantial but light, it can float between rooms without too much effort. It accents, even transforms, your aesthetic.

Slipper chair, Marie-Antoinette, button-back or bergère, there is any number of alternatives to compliment your style and suit your space.

Here are five tips to guide you through the art of occasional seating.

Accent chairs can add pop-art inspired colours and shapes, or simply support a more sophisticated aesthetic. From left: Soundslike HOME Iron Lounge Chair, Replica Eames Eiffel DAW Armchair and Replica Ball Chair, available online at Zanui


Identify your expectations for this piece. Do you want it to be able to move from room to room easily or will it realistically serve just one purpose? Are you thinking office, dining, lounge, or bedroom – or a combination? Is indoor/outdoor functionality important? These questions will dictate the style that’s right for you.

Add natural textures to your interiors and enjoy the versatility of indoor/outdoor use with finely crafted rattan furniture. From left: Globe West Rumba Brandy Rattan Occasional Chair and Amalfi Peacock Rattan Chair, available online at Zanui. Image source via roomed.nl

If you’re looking for flexibility, a slipper chair (a chair without arms) is a great option. It serves as a chic extension of your wardrobe, an understated entryway chair or a handy storage spot in your bathroom to house your guest towels. But are you prepared for it to make its living room debut? Occasional chairs are perfect for pulling out when you entertain large groups. If wining and dining is your bag, opt for an adaptable design.


Cosy up for some foreign travels courtesy of a good book in the Zanui collection of armchairs. From left: Georg Curry High Back Armchair, Viggo Red Wingback Armchair and Georg Anthracite High Back Armchair, available online at Zanui.

If you’re a lover of literature (we’re talking Tolstoy to trashy mags), that spot in the dappled sun will most likely be your armchair’s forever home. If your chair is not going to move (much), prioritise plush over portable.

The Replica Eames Rocking Chair looks equally at home at the dining table, in the bedroom or in the lounge. Available in a range of colours online at Zanui. Image source via fawnachang.wordpress.com and iloveperfectdesign.com

Having a clear idea of what purpose this piece will serve will help you to make the right decision for the long term.


Be realistic about how much space you have. If your small living room is already stacked with a two-seater sofa, coffee table and standing floor lamp, an armless option is less visually intrusive.

Transparent or open-framed chairs like a Replica Louis VIII Ghost Chair or the Amalfi Graphix Metal Occasional Chair also enhance the sense of space. Ottomans and poufs (though not strictly occasional seating!) are also a great space-saving options. Where space is no concern, you’re spoilt for choice. Indulge your taste – from historic high-back to boxy and ball-shaped, plush velvet to rattan…

For smaller spaces, transparent or open-framed furnishings such as the Replica Philippe Stark Armchair help to enhance the sense of space. Image sources from left: via adreamhousefortrish.blogspot.com and pinterest.com


Take a good look at your space and analyse its aesthetic. Is your design landscape holistic or eclectic? Whether your look is crisp contemporary, French provincial or a fusion of the two, you want to enhance what’s already working in your home.

Do you want a chair that makes a statement? Or one that plays a supporting role in your existing scheme?

In eclectic spaces, a bold occasional chair can add charm or a touch of history. A plush armchair amidst urban industrial furnishings, polished concrete and distressed wood injects a touch of stately elegance. Equally where your sofa or rug is the hero in your space, an understated neutral piece provides the perfect balance.

Add a classic touch to traditional or eclectic interiors with button-back work. Left: Phil Bee Wingback Armchair and right: Zanui Abel Teal Armchair, available online at Zanui.


Unless you are splashing out on a complete refurbishment, you’ll be working with an existing colour scheme. Look with new eyes. Identifying an alternative accent colour can revitalise your entire aesthetic without costing a bomb.

In neutral spaces, combine creams with natural fibres and metallics for subtle highlights. Exploit graduations within your theme for luxe sophistication – explore the fifty shades of grey…

Being brave can pay off. However if your look is Old-English-aged-leather-library and you’re considering a scarlet red wingback armchair, you’ll need to support this within the rest of your decor. Throw cushions or a rug that echoes your accent colour(s) help to endorse a look-at-me chair.

Neutral spaces respond well to textures and graduated colour tones. Left: Replica Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Chair, available online at Zanui.


Finally, think about the materials you are merging within your space. A design-scape rich in texture and patina is more visually interesting.

Explore adding a rustic element for visual intrigue within your interiors. From left: Soundslike HOME Woody Mushroom Stool, Soundslike HOME Tropica Shaggy Round Goat Box Stool, Soundslike HOME Driftwood Stool and Soundslike HOME Tropica Goat Hair Stool, available online at Zanui.

Mid-century mod lines can be softened with a soft cable-knit or alpaca throw, while animal hide poufs and stools add drama to an urban-industrial style. Natural fibres, distressed wood, leather and iron and natural fibres all contribute unique personality to your aesthetic.

Adding luxe textures and sumptuous knits within urban-industrial aesthetic provides dramatic juxtaposition. Right: Bambury Preston Throw, available online at Zanui. Image source via housetohome.co.uk

Feature images via from left: rdeco.gr, thewrongsideofsane.wordpress.com and domesticnotions.blogspot.com.


Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.